Bruce Cockburn, born on May 27, 1945, knew at a young age that he wanted to be a singer. It was going to college that previewed his true desire to obtain his dream. Though born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, he decided to attend classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the sixties. During the three semesters that he attended, he joined a band called The Children. It lasted from 1966 to 1067 – merely a year. He joined The Esquires right after leaving The Children in the spring of 1967. That did not last long either, as he then moved back to Canada – Toronto this time – in the summer. It was in Toronto, in the summer of 1967, that he formed The Flying Circus.
The Flying Circus recorded some music, but none of it has ever been released. The band name did not stay the same for very long. In the spring of 1968, they changed the name to Olivus. Olivus had some success as they earned a spot opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in April of 1968. Soon after, he decided to leave Olivus with the intent of going solo. He, however, ended up joining Three’s A Crowd for a little while. In the spring of 1969, he finally went solo, and in 1970, he released his first solo album. His earliest albums reflected his strong Christian background, mirroring many of his beliefs.
While he had a large following in Canada, hardly anyone in the United States knew his name. In 1979, he released an album called Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaw. It was the first single from this album Wondering Where The Lions Are that landed him some notoriety in the United States. Though it was only a minor hit, it landed him on the American television show, Saturday Night Live. His musical career didn’t fade out in the eighties. Instead, he brought more political issues to his music, and continued holding on to his fan base.
His most recent album just dropped in July of 2006. It’s called Life Short Call Now and it revolves around the theme of traveling the world. One song, This is Baghdad, was inspired by a week of living there in 2004. And on the title track of Life Short Call Now, he speaks of driving from St. Louis to the other side of Missouri, and the relationships and loneliness that the road can bring.
Over the years, Cockburn has recorded twenty-nine albums and has won numerous Juno awards. And though he does not see his musical career ending any time soon (he just released an official greatest hits album called Anything, Anytime, Anywhere: singes 1979-2002), he is also involved in a lot of human rights and environmental issues around the world.